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Bank theft leads to manhunt


April 01, 2009
A Louisville man, whom authorities believe robbed Your Community Bank in Floyds Knobs last Wednesday, was captured in Floyd County that night after evading police for several hours.

John L. Stephens, 44, was taken into custody about 10:30 that evening after police tracked him for several hours in a rural area west of New Albany off S.R. 111.

Stephens, according to police, allegedly entered Your Community Bank at the Highlander Point shopping center about 11:15 a.m., showed tellers a handgun and demanded money. Upon leaving the building with an undetermined amount of cash in a bag, a dye bomb exploded and Stephens dropped the bag. He then fled in what a witness described as a red pickup truck.

An off-duty police officer who was in the area chased the truck on Interstate 64, but lost sight of it in heavy traffic.

Police believe that Stephens left I-64 at the New Albany exit and drove to West Main and Fifth streets, where he crashed into two vehicles, injuring one of the drivers.

Stephens then drove west on Main Street, then west on S.R. 111 toward Harrison County. Police found the truck later near a cemetery on Budd Road, and Floyd County police officers began a search of the area. They were assisted by New Albany and Jeffer-sonville police, the FBI and U.S. Marshals.

Police tracked Stephens to a wooded area near Two Mile Lane. Floyd County Det. Brad Powell, in pursuit of Stephens, ran into a metal gate support and suffered a broken leg. He was taken to University Hospital in Louisville.

Following an 11-hour manhunt, officers apprehended Stephens about 10:30 p.m. He was arrested and taken to the Floyd County Jail.

The following day, Stephens was ordered held on a $200,000 cash bond, but due to the probability of the case becoming a federal prosecution, the filing of charges was postponed.

On Monday, an agent with the FBI in Indianapolis acknowledged that Stephens will be charged in Federal District Court with bank robbery. The agent also indicated Stephens will face weapons charges which could add another five years of jail time.

Stephens, according to police, has a criminal record in Kentucky and has been in prison four times on charges of attempted murder, possession of a handgun by a felon, burglary, theft and assault.

"This guy is in serious trouble," the FBI agent said. "He's now in federal custody."

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